TECH
05/28/2013 06:16 pm ET

Xbox One's Kinect Might Spy On You To Keep Advertisers Happy

KAREN DUCEY/Invision for Microsoft/AP Images

Microsoft's newest Xbox was unveiled last week with a surprising announcement -- Xbox One will ship with a new version of Kinect, Microsoft's motion-sensing camera.

The Kinect was previously sold as a coveted and lucrative add-on to the Xbox, but bundling it with the Xbox One is in itself a big change. The new Kinect, which is better equipped to follow users' movements and is capable of reading facial expressions and even monitoring heartbeats, could be the perfect way to implement Microsoft's recently-approved patent, called "Awards and Achievements Across the TV Ecosystem," The Verge points out.

Microsoft Corporation filed the patent in November 2011, highlighting two ideas: first, that traditional television viewing was "passive" and provided few "opportunities for a viewer to engage with the programming," and second, that television advertisers were "finding it increasingly difficult to introduce their advertisements to viewers."

The patent proposed getting users engaged with advertisements by monitoring them with depth cameras and infrared illumination. Users who responded to prompts in advertisements would see rewards, and advertisers could compile all of the recorded user data to more effectively sell products.

Using the Xbox One and the new Kinect to implement Microsoft's newly patented "ecosystem" falls in line with comments made in 2010 by then-Microsoft exec Dennis Durkin, who told investors that the Kinect might send advertisers data on how users move, play and speak. The comments prompted a backlash from privacy advocates at the time, but three years later, Microsoft might be looking to follow through on Durkin's plans.

Microsoft has not responded to a request for comment about the newest Xbox and its capabilities.

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